No college-style targeting rule coming to NFL

Getty Images

Among the items that the NFL’s Competition Committee discussed earlier this year was whether to propose a rule change that would allow for replay review of illegal hits to the head in order to determine if the player delivering the hit should be ejected from the game.

That type of targeting rule is in place in college football, but it will not be coming to the professional ranks. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the committee will not issue a proposal to enact a similar rule because they do not want replay to take the place of officials making determinations about ejections for in-game actions.

“We feel that between our unnecessary roughness rules, our unsportsmanlike conduct rules and our defenseless player rules, the officials have the power to eject a player if they feel that’s warranted,” Vincent said. “We want to get it right.”

The league will be voting on a proposal allowing replay to be used as a criteria to eject players for things that happen outside the course of play. That would include actions by Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans that later led to suspensions last season.

While the targeting rule won’t be part of the agenda at the league meetings, another college-style rule could be on the table. Vincent said the committee is still considering backing a proposal from the Jets that would cap pass interference penalties at 15 yards rather than spotting the ball at the spot of the foul. Generally speaking, proposals backed by the committee have a better chance of passing than ones simply proposed by teams.

16 responses to “No college-style targeting rule coming to NFL

  1. Thank god. While I agree if its intentional and trying to get the player hurt but I’d say more than half the time this is called its bogus and should be a 15 yard penalty, not throwing a player out of the game.

  2. Hard to say whether the rule itself is to blame or just the lousy enforcement, but that rule has been a real problem in college. At least half the time the targeting ends up standing even if the replay clearly shows there was no head contact involved. At least at that level, the replay officials seem scared of overruling their on-field brethren.

  3. “NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the committee will not issue a proposal to enact a similar rule because they do not want replay to take the place of officials making determinations about ejections for in-game actions.”
    ———————–

    That’s rich.

  4. I agree that the college rule doesn’t solve anything, and they can’t seem to get it right when they do make a call. However, headhunting is something I really detest and it makes me cringe when I see it. I feel like most of the time when a QB is sliding at least one defender is diving at his head as he’s going down. That is a pointless “tackle” on someone who’s going to be down where he started his slide. Likewise on defenders who dive in on tackles at the last second, even though the play is over. Happens constantly.

  5. Thank god!! That’s the most ridiculous rule in college football! “Targeting”…what kind of idiots come up with a rule like that?! Here’s a news flash, if you have the football, you ARE THE TARGET.

  6. Actually, I’d love instant replay for flagrant hits to see if they’re actually flagrant or not. Sometimes (obviously being a Kam Chancellor fan I’ve noticed this) a guy just gets legally lit up but because it’s such a violent hit the flag comes out. It’d be nice to get those calls right.

  7. Don’t need a targeting rule.

    They need to eject players that hit others in the helmet. And they need a cumulative foul rule that results in suspension or eventual ban.

  8. Why bother with changes, if the officials don’t call the most obvious fouls! A dirty player like Kiko Alonzo targets Flacco, with a forearm to the head, knocks him out of the game, and nothing is called! Only dolphin fans and raven haters would say it was a “no call”!

  9. LOL.. Of course the Jets proposed the 15 yard PI call.. They don’t have a QB capable of throwing a pass beyond 15 yards.

  10. 15 yard vs spot of the foul is good. Most coaches depend on a 50/50 shot of that foul being called. Hope they approve the 15 yd foul. How many games were lost because of what amounts to sometimes, a forty yard penalty on a rocky tacky call

  11. That type of targeting rule is in place in college football, but it will not be coming to the professional ranks. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that the committee will not issue a proposal to enact a similar rule because they do not want replay to take the place of officials making determinations about ejections for in-game actions.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If the committee has the same understanding of the targeting rule as the author of this article then it is no wonder it was rejected. In college, they throw the flag for the illegal hit, if the official believes it was targeting that’s what he calls. The replay is used to confirm or reject the targeting call. The rule, as intended, provides officials with a cut and dried application and the ability to eject a player and also provides an effective deterrent to the players on the field. Most avoid those kind of hits when they can in order to stay on the field. The NFL really has no deterrent because their decision are primarily political with rationale like “don’t eject player x because it would put the team at a disadvantage” actually impact the decisions on the field. The difference here is it happens before the game is even played. IMHO, a rule similar to the college targeting rule would benefit the game and could be used to replace the stupid and highly subjective concepts such as “defenseless receiver”. The competition committee is supposed to make the game better but I can’t remember the last change that actually had that effect.

  12. “We feel that between our unnecessary roughness rules, our unsportsmanlike conduct rules and our defenseless player rules, the officials have the power to eject a player if they feel that’s warranted,” Vincent said. “We want to get it right.”

    Well, they need to do something. You could hit another player with a baseball bat and all you’d get is a 15-yard penalty. Michael Bennett tried to end another player’s career last year and he didn’t even get a penalty. All this talk about player safety and the officials never see anything.

  13. Good to know as the college game hasn’t always enforced the Targeting call correctly.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.